Donizetti Rocks…

Reports that I have been eaten alive by a Monshta in Berlin have been greatly exaggerated. The tale of my little visit to the Brandenburg Gate is ready and written, but I think it will be best to post it the same day that the Independent runs my interview with Nige, so you’ll have to wait a bit. But I promise I got home safe and sound, if hungover, knackered and wondering whether the sight of the entire British athletics team on our plane back was maybe a hallucination (what did they put in that vodka?).

Anyhow – sorry for slow blogging this week…

I finally made it to L’elisir d’amore at Glyndebourne yesterday – busman’s holiday for Tom, who wasn’t playing in it but fancied cheering on the lovely Adriana Kucerova. I’ve managed never to see L’Elisir on stage before, ever (shock horror) since I think I am ‘not a fan of bel canto’. Glad to say that this attitude is rubbish. It’s absolutely wonderful: Italian prosecco romcom full of fizz and sparkle.

OK, it needs Florez and didn’t have him. Peter Auty acts Nemorino extremely well, expresses the text, offers all the nuances etc, but doesn’t have the bell-like gorgeousness and clarity…why do British tenors so often have a faintly tensed-up ‘I Am British’ tone to them? It sounds so often as if they can’t relax and let it all out. Adriana was clearly enjoying herself with superbitch Adina, and I could say lots of nice things about her, but, um, she is coming to stay later in September so I should leave praising her to others…though I must add that I thought everyone was very mean carping on about the fact that she used the score for Fidelio at the Proms last week when the others sang from memory. The rest of the cast were all older and had sung their roles about 100 times, whereas this was her first Marzelline and it was on live TV. In her shoes I’d have done the same.

It’s Friday so we’re on historical. Here is Caruso in L’elisir‘s biggest hit, ‘Una furtiva lagrima’.

Underrated: Abroad

The ravenous longing for the infinite possibilities of “otherwhere”

The king of cakes

"Yuletide revels were designed to see you through the dark days — and how dark they seem today"